Electronics Production | August 23, 2007
Qualcomm Enters Semi-<br>conductor Top-10 in Q2
Qualcomm Inc., a company that doesn't own a single semiconductor production factory, ascended to the Top-10 ranks of the global chip industry in the second quarter, according to iSuppli Corp., marking the first time a fabless company has achieved such a distinction.
Qualcomm, a U.S.-based fabless semiconductor supplier, rose to the ninth position among global semiconductor suppliers in the second quarter, up from 13th in the first quarter. The seller of communications chips in the second quarter achieved revenue $1.4 billion, up 8.6 percent from $1.3 billion in the first quarter. On its way from 14th to ninth place, Qualcomm surpassed companies with considerable manufacturing assets, including Infineon Technologies AG, Qimonda AG, Freescale Semiconductor and NEC Electronics Corp. Qualcomm now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with chip manufacturing powerhouses including NXP Semiconductors and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. The table below presents iSuppli's ranking of the Top-10 semiconductor suppliers in the second quarter of 2007. iSuppli Table 1: Quarterly Semiconductor Market Shares--Q1-'07 Through Q2-'07 (Ranking by Revenue in Millions of U.S. Dollars) Source: iSuppli Corp. August 2007 Qualcomm's coups Recent headlines covering Qualcomm's legal troubles notwithstanding, the company achieved stellar results in the second quarter. The company's 8.6 percent increase represented the highest growth rate of any Top-10 semiconductor supplier in the second quarter—and marked a significant accomplishment amid a decline in overall chip revenue. Global semiconductor revenue declined by 3.6 percent to $63.1 billion in the second quarter, down from $65.4 billion in the first quarter. The company in the first quarter replaced Texas Instruments Inc. as the world's top supplier of semiconductors for wireless applications. This marks the first time that Texas Instruments has not occupied the leadership position in this area at least since iSuppli began tracking such market share in 2004. With its valuable intellectual property, Qualcomm is capitalizing effectively on the transition to 3G technology in the mobile handset market. iSuppli doesn't expect the International Trade Commission's (ITC's) decision to ban U.S. imports of some mobile phones that include certain Qualcomm chips to significantly damage the company's third-quarter results. Asian flu While Qualcomm surged in the second quarter, Asian semiconductor suppliers Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Hynix Semiconductor Inc., Sony Corp. and NEC Corp. all experienced declines in their semiconductor revenue, with Hynix and Toshiba taking the biggest hits among the Top-10 suppliers. Major weakness in the DRAM sector impacted results at several companies. Hynix of South Korea suffered the steepest sales plunge among the world's Top-10 semiconductor suppliers, with its revenue dropping to $1.96 billion, down 22.7 percent from $2.5 billion in the first quarter. The company's woes were entirely due to its falling revenue from sales of its primary product: DRAM. Hynix's DRAM revenue dropped 29.7 percent in the second quarter compared to the first. Japan's Toshiba was the second-biggest decliner among the Top-10, with its semiconductor revenue falling to $2.5 billion, down 19.3 percent from $3.1 billion in the first quarter. The company's sales drop was broad-based, with revenue decreasing in every semiconductor segment the company competes in, except NAND flash memory. It's a bad quarter for Sony Faring even worse than Hynix and Toshiba was Sony of Japan, which dropped out of the Top-10 rankings in the second quarter as its semiconductor revenue fell by the highest percentage among the world's Top-20 suppliers. Sony's semiconductor revenue in the second quarter declined to $1.3 billion, down 33.7 percent from $2 billion in the first quarter. The company's global chip ranking fell to 13th, down from seventh in the first quarter. Sony suffered huge percentage revenue declines in all semiconductor segments in which it participates. The company's woes can be traced to a specific applications market: its core consumer electronics business. Company consumer-electronics revenue fell by a stunning $589 million in the second quarter compared to the first, a 33.4 percent decline. Samsung and NEC navigate the chip downturn Samsung of South Korea fared better than most of the other Asian and Japanese semiconductor suppliers in the second quarter, with its revenue declining to $4.7 billion, down 2.5 percent from $4.8 billion in the first quarter. With this marginal decline, Samsung actually outperformed the overall semiconductor market. Like some of its fellow Asian semiconductor suppliers, Samsung took a major hit in DRAM revenue, with its sales falling to $2.1 billion in the second quarter, down 16.7 percent from $2.5 billion in the first quarter. This decline was offset by a surge in NAND flash memory revenue, which rose to $1.4 billion, up 18.9 percent from $1.2 billion in the first quarter. Japan's NEC fell out of the Top-10 rankings on a 2.5 percent decline in revenue to $1.3 billion, down from $1.4 billion in the first quarter. NEC's rank declined to 11th, down from 10th in the first quarter. The main culprit for NEC's decline was display drivers, which suffered a $24 million sales decline compared to the first quarter.